Kytephone Parental Controls App

Not sure what your kids are doing on their smartphones? The Kytephone parental controls app will help you set limits while still allowing them to enjoy their gadget. This app for Android phones that lets you control who they can call or text, what games they can play and for how long, and what apps they can use. It also has remotes features that include GPS location and status of the phone plus other info that you can administer remotely.

Update 3: Gone

Their website is gone, so I guess shutdown is complete. The Kytephone Google Play account is blank.

Update 2: Shutting Down August 12, 2014

Kytephone and Kytetime are shutting down on August 12, 2014. If you have signed up for their service, they will email you an unlock code for getting your phone out of Kid Mode as your passwords will no longer work after that date.

Update 1

Kytephone has renamed its parental controls app to Kytetime, and they've introduced a GPS tracker/child locator as a separate app. However, the functionality is still pretty much as described below.

Parent Mode and Kid Mode

The app has two modes: Parent mode and Kid mode. Once you launch the app, it goes into Parent Mode where you can set up all the controls. Once you're done, you switch it into Kid mode and give it to your child to use.

Once you put the phone in Kid mode, a password is required to access Parent Mode. This works even if you turn the phone off. When you turn the phone back on, it goes straight into Kid mode.

Choose Contacts for Calls and Texts

You can set which contacts are available in Kid mode for your child to call or text. These contacts are a subset of the main contacts on the phone.

Choose Apps and Games

In a similar way, you can choose which apps are available to your child in Kid mode. You can also limit the amount of time the app can be used in a day. For example, you can allow your child to use apps like Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies etc. but limit the amount of time to they can use them.

Remote Access

Once you have installed the app and setup your account, you can go to the Kytephone site and access your phone remotely.

GPS Locator and Phone Status

The most important of these remote features are GPS location. You get a street map showing where the phone is located. You also get other status info such as the battery life and whether the phone is still in Kid mode.

Update 11/3/2012: Real-Time Location Updates

Just got a note that the location tracking feature now shows updates in real-time with a blue line that shows the path followed.

Usage Info

You can also check on the phone usage remotely. So you can see what pictures have been taken, what games have been used. You can also administer the phone contacts here and add or delete numbers as necessary.

Probably, not everyone will be thrilled with this level of detail, but it's there if you want it.

What Age Level?

This is a good app that allows you to adjust the level of restrictions making it appropriate for a wide range of ages. The interface has been updated so it does not look as cartoonish which may have put off some of the older kids.

Which Phones?

Although the Kytephone app was recommended to me by a customer service rep at Kajeet when I called to ask about their parental controls, it is available for most Android phones, which give you lots of choices for choosing which plan to use. If you wish to go with a no-contract plan, Android phones are available from most of the providers reviewed on this site.